Up until 4 weeks ago, I hadn’t attended a dance class in 15 years. It wasn’t for a lack of wanting. With every year that went by, it became more and more difficult to get back into it, and if I came close there were many feeble excuses as to why I couldn’t.
I am pregnant.
It isn’t the right class for me.
I’m actually too busy.
My evenings are too important to me.
I’m pregnant again.
I can do yoga instead.
I am scared.
For 10 years, from the age of 8 to the age of 18, I danced 3 times a week. And then I just stopped. I stopped moving. I stopped giving myself that gift of dance, and ultimately the gift of the freedom I felt when I danced. And for some reason I couldn’t start again. Did I feel I didn’t need it anymore? Did I feel it wasn’t a priority anymore? Did I believe my body couldn’t move like that again?
Why is it that sometimes the things we want the most are the things we are the most hesitant to explore?
No other form of exercise came close. Whether it was gym, yoga, or walks on the beach, nothing came close to that feeling of joy I felt when I was dancing. I remember all the realities I was trying to escape from when I was younger and how dance became that escape. As a reserved, self-conscious teenager, dance was my exploration outward and inward. It was my way to connect with my inner compass and forget all that was trying to steer me off-course.
4 weeks ago, the feeling I felt when I finally committed to my first dance class was pure fear.
I have come to learn, however, that fear is not something that has to retreat before action can be taken. Fear can be carried with you, even if its presence is crippling, and it can only be released once you have actively taken that frightening first step. That physical leap outward is what creates the emotional and intellectual leaps inwards.
The movement. The music. The other dancers. The new environment. It all suddenly exists in my world because I made room for it. I embraced curiosity, passion, risk, and the unfamiliar and none of my initial fears were realised.
My most recent class was so physically demanding that I came home and lay on the floor. So emotionally and physically drained that I could swear my whole self had been shaken out into the air, and I lay waiting for it to sift back down and enter my being again; rearranged and renewed.
I feel now that my mind and my body are working together to continue my journey of self-discovery – it is a life-long undertaking, and the more I get out there and physically challenge myself, the more I begin to live a life where change is welcomed, and exploration becomes something I crave and not fear.
I took a leap outward, and it resonated inward, and can’t wait to leap again.